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Archive for January, 2015

2015 Resolutions

Friday, January 9th, 2015

New Year’s Resolutions That Everyone Who Works on Hard Surfaces Should Consider

 
resolutions

Making resolutions for the New Year can sometimes be counterproductive.  After all, the path through winter and spring is littered with well-intended promises. In the end, however, our personal resolutions – eat better, exercise more, etc. – sometimes achieve an unfortunate result: a sense of self-disappointment. But in business, resolutions are not only helpful, they are arguably unavoidable. Any company seeking lasting success must plan ahead; its leaders must map out the details, anticipate the challenges, and give the future a thorough “big-picture” examination.

With this in mind, what are some of the top New Year’s resolutions that your company should consider? While answers may vary from organization to organization, there are some areas of focus that transcend industries, and there are some goals that should clearly drive any venture, whether a small business or large enterprise. 

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 Engage Your Customers

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The idea of customer engagement is certainly not new.  Yet, those companies that have not already focused on transforming the customer experience need to make it happen in 2015. And because involving customers in the very essence of your brand is an ongoing process, it should remain as a top priority for every organization, even those who believe they have already met the challenge.

The reasons for a full-on customer engagement strategy are clear, as this Forbes article excerpt relates:

“A 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect at a 10% cut in costs; 55% of customers would pay more for a better customer experience.
Customers who are fully engaged represent a 23% premium in terms of revenue and growth for an average company.”

How to make engagement happen is less clear. It involves (a) the people in your organization and their training; (b) technology and how you use it, and; (c) your operational approach and ability to integrate business areas in pursuit of one mission.

That means getting sales, marketing, customer service and IT synchronized and seamlessly united.

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Engage Your Employees

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Like customer engagement, employee engagement is a hot topic. In 2015, instead of just talking about passionate and empowered employees, companies should work on getting it done. This is another topic important to us at SMITH.

Our EOS program training gives employees the resources, training, motivation and responsibility they need and deserve to excel is not only the right thing to do, it is perhaps the most important step you can take for your customers. Engaged employees drive great customer service, positive customer interactions, and lasting loyalty.

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Engage Your Technology

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Like employee engagement, a higher level of engagement in technology is essential for the rewarding customer experience. Companies need to think beyond the traditional CRM to technology that can support the infinite possibilities and unique paths comprising your customers’ journey today.

Whether it is the technology that connects your company to customers online, fulfills their deliveries (and your removal needs), or allows you to better communicate with your audience and better organize internally and with your stakeholders, you need to invest in systems that are forward-looking, and flexible enough to evolve as your business grows.

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Engage Your Communications

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Marketing and communications in 2015 will be increasingly digital; another reason to check out the technology resolution.

Given the growing number of pathways to reach customers and to engage them in your brand, taking a fresh look at your marketing strategies should be a priority in the year ahead. So, resolve to engage your communications and take marketing to the next level, including within your company.

Improving your internal communications is a key step on the road to engaging your employees, coordinating effective, company-wide marketing efforts, and ultimately engaging your customers.  You can also use your newly fired-up technology to keep in contact with your employees through multiple channels.

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Engage the World

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With each passing year, the global marketplace expands. 2015 promises to be a pivotal year for companies to launch or expand their business – with stripers and concrete floor-preparation companies leading the way.

The fact is, companies that can offer their existing customers with added value (such as SMITHing; surface preparation to make surfaces safer and last longer), have customers who are more likely to succeed, making you successful at the same time.

There’s no time like the present, so if your business resolutions are not in place, get them going today!

Learn more about how surface preparation best practices can improve your bottom line by attending Steven Smith’s NPE presentation, January 29 in Nashville, TN. Until then, share your New Year’s resolutions with us on Twitter and Facebook. Have a great 2015!

2015 SMITH Catalogs

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

The All-New 2015 SMITH Catalogs Are Here!

catalogs

All of us at SMITH Manufacturing are excited about our new and improved 2015 catalogs. Yes, catalogs – there are TWO this year – one designed for asphalt and striping professionals, and a second one specifically for concrete contractors.

Now Twice as Nice

The SMITH catalogs contain the tools and information you need to achieve all 10 surface profiles on asphalt or concrete. There’s cleaner pictures, more comprehensive information, new products for 2015 and much more, all designed to help you remove faster and easier, with safer, longer-lasting surfaces.

SMITH Catalog

Click here to have a copy sent to you, or you may view them online, or download a copy.

We look forward to helping you remove faster in 2015!

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Roadway Surface Preparation before Striping Defined

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

What is the definition of Roadway Prep-Before-Stripe Work?

1. The act of removing all surface contamination, loose and flaking materials in the area underneath the location of where the pavement markings will be installed using a process that leaves the surface Clean, Dry, Profiled and Sound.

2. The removal of any penetrating dirt, oil, films, paint, coatings, cure, sealer, and unsound asphalt or concrete and other materials that will interfere with the adhesion or penetration of any applied sealer, coating or marking material after the ideal surface profile structure for the new marking material is created.

Clean Surface: Unclean pavement surfaces cause debonding of pavement markings. Dirt, debris, curing compound (new concrete only), grease, oil, mud, dust, grass, loose gravel, and other deleterious material to include old markings and glass beads could affect the bonding capabilities of markings to the pavement.

The surface is clean when leaving contaminants up to 0.5 sq. in. may remain if they are not removed by the following test,performed just before application of markings:
Step 1. Air-blast the surface to be tested, to simulate blasting during application of markings.
Step 2. Firmly press a 10-in.-long, 2-in.-wide strip of monofilament tape onto the surface, leaving approximately 2 in. free.
Step 3. Grasp the free end and remove the tape with a sharp pull.

Dry Surface: The presence of moisture on the pavement surface prior to marking placement will likely have a negative effect on the bond formed between the pavement marking and the pavement surface.

Pavement surface moisture can be determined using:
Step 1: 12×12 inch square piece of plastic wrap on the pavement surface using duct tape to affix the edges.

Step 2:Let stand approximately 15 minutes and check for moisture bubbles on the inside surface of the plastic.
Step 3:If moisture bubbles on the plastic are larger than a pencil eraser, then the pavement contains too much excess water. 

Surface Profile and Porosity: Creating the right pavement surface porosity improves mechanical bonding characteristics for the new pavement markings with the surface. Mechanical bonding occurs when the pavement marking material seeps into the pores of the pavement surface to create a tight mechanical bond after setting.

Surface profiling opens the pore structure of the substrate to establish profiles suitable, for the application of the specified marking material. Each profile has a corresponding number, ranging from SP1 (nearly flat) to SP10 (extremely rough). The surface profile is defined as the measurement of the average distance from the peaks of the surface to the valleys, as seen through a cross-section of the prepared substrate. The texture and appearance of each profile obtained through the surface-preparation process will vary, depending upon the concrete/asphalt strength, composition, aggregate, and finish. On sound surfaces, the range of variation can be controlled to represent these standards, however, as removal depth increases, the profile of the prepared substrate will be increasingly dominant by the type and size of the coarse aggregate.

Refer to the Surface Profiles inspection tool to visually confirm the surface profile (SP1-10) conditions before and after the surface preparation process. The photos are actual-size respresentative surface profiles, textures, and roughness of properly prepared concrete or asphalt surfaces, using drum-style and rotary-style preparators. The creation of a surface profile can be accomplished with a variety of tools, equipment, and materials. The specifications detail the desired SP range, dependent upon the coating, binder or overlay system to be installed as directed by the material manufacturer.

Surface Soundness: If an existing pavement is cracked or provides inadequate structural support these defects will often reflect through the best-constructed markings and cause premature pavement marking or pavement surface failure.

Prior to installing the pavement marking, the condition of the pavement should be structurally sound and capable of bonding to the new pavement marking material. To meet these prerequisites, no surface preparation process should be used that would compromise the surface condtions. In addition, any failed pavement sections should be be repaired or replaced to provide this structural support. Refer to ASTM tests to confirm structural integrity of pavements

References:
1. Pavement Marking Handbook B-4 TxDOT 08/2004
2. Failure of Surface Coarses Beneath Pavement Markings UT-10.05 March 2010
3. Effectivenss Study on Temporary Pavement Marking Removal Methods Report #: SPR-P1 (11) M305 June 2011
4. NTPEP Pavement Marking Materials Grooved In Transverse Lines Pilot Project
5. NTPEP Test Deck Field Testing Procedures ( ASTM D 713)
6. ICRI Technical Guideline NO 07332
7. ASTM
7. Smith University “Surface Profile Inspection Tool” smithu.com
8. DOT “prep-before-stripe” standard construction specifications

 
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Toll Free: 1-800-653-9311 | Ph: 954-941-9744 | Fax: 954-545-0348
Specifications and data are subject to change without notice.